The 73-year-old politician was seen for the first time in public with his new partner, South Korean businesswoman Kim So-yeon. Schröder's ex-wife has claimed he transferred the rights to his book royalties to Kim.
Tabloids in Germany were abuzz on Thursday with the news that the four-time married ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was stepping out with a new partner — with a South Korean woman 25 years his junior.
The rumored relationship was confirmed after Schröder's most recent ex-wife, Doris Schröder-Köpf, responding to the tabloid tales in the newspaper Bild and magazine Bunte, wrote about the story on her Facebook page. According to Schröder-Köpf, the former chancellor's relationship with Kim So-yeon was the "final straw, if not the only reason, for our final separation" in 2016.
Forty-eight-year-old Kim So-yeon (not to be confused with the 36-year-old actress of the same name) could recently be seen with Gerhard Schröder on a trip to South Korea as he promoted a recent translation of his autobiography.
According to Bild, Kim is the manager of a Germany development agency's Seoul branch and has a degree in German from the University of Marburg.
Doris Schröder-Köpf, herself a former Bild reporter who has recently been linked to Lower-Saxony's Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (a Social Democrat like Schröder), wrote that she felt the need to respond to the rumors on Facebook because her ex-husband had reportedly transferred some of the rights for his book to his new partner.
"I find it very regrettable that the rights for the autobiography were not transferred to the children," she wrote.
Gerhard Schröder's office has not yet issued a comment on his relationship with Kim. The former Social Democrat (SPD) leader recently caused a stir in Germany with the announcement that he will become an independent director of the board at Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.
es/msh (AFP, dpa)